Albert Moore, Attorney at Law

Do All HOA And Condo Associations Assess Maintenance Fees?

All HOA and condo associations assess maintenance fees, which cover maintenance of the common areas and limited common areas. The association will also ask for the replacement of damaged items and fees for carrying out necessary repairs. For example, maintenance fees might go toward the expense of repairing a pool, deck, or a gate in the community.

What Steps Can Your Firm Take To Collect Delinquent Fees In A Timely Manner?

In Florida, a homeowner association must give two notices before a lawsuit can be filed to collect delinquent fees. The first notifies the person that they are delinquent and gives them 45 days to bring their delinquencies current. If they fail to do so, then another letter will be sent at the end of those 45 days that says that HOA intends on filing a lien if the delinquencies are not paid within an additional 45 days. If they again fail to pay, then the association can foreclose on that lien. In Florida, there is also the option of filing a lawsuit to foreclose, which would result in a third party purchasing the home. If that were to happen, the association would get the money they are owed in a final judgment. Alternatively, if the owner failed to pay it off before the foreclosure sale, then the association would take title to the property.

Condominium associations are only required to send one notice and give owners 30 days to bring their delinquencies current. If they do not pay within those 30 days, then the association would file and foreclose on the lien. Some associations may take additional steps, but they must at least abide by these notices. There have been associations that have requested that we contact delinquent owners prior to sending the notice, just to ensure that they understand the ramifications of what is about to happen and to see if the owner can pay some amount of money or agree to a payment plan. An association might choose to do this in order to save the trouble of filing and foreclosing on a lien. However, an association is not obligated to work with owners in this way. In fact, most documents allow for a governing association to accelerate delinquencies. This means that if a homeowner misses two months’ worth of payments and does not pay when notified by the association that action will be taken, the association can accelerate the delinquency by demanding the next 10 months’ worth of payments. The unit owner would have to pay those or a suit would be filed.

How Do We Know When A Collection Issue Is Serious Enough To Consider Litigation Or Foreclosure As Options?

Associations don’t have a rule that dictates exactly when an issue is serious enough to warrant litigation or foreclosure action. Instead, this is usually considered on a case-by-case basis. Associations cannot selectively enforce certain rules regarding when to consider litigation or foreclosure in a particular case. For example, one homeowner should not be allowed to miss a whole year’s worth of payments simply because the board of directors likes that homeowner. With that said, having a strictly defined number at which to foreclose isn’t always the best method. For example, if there had been a set number during the foreclosure crises when so many people weren’t paying their delinquencies, then almost everyone would have been foreclosed on.

For more information on Maintenance Fees For HOA & Condo Owners, a case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (772) 242-3600 today.

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